National Carbon Offset Standard

The Australian Government introduced the National Carbon Offset Standard (the Standard) on 1 July 2010. The Standard provides a benchmark for businesses and other organisations voluntarily seeking to be carbon neutral for their operations, products, services or events. The Standard sets out requirements for achieving carbon neutrality, based on a rigorous and transparent framework that is based on relevant international standards and tailored to the Australian context..

The standard:

  • sets minimum requirements for calculating, auditing and offsetting the carbon account of an organisation, product, service or event to voluntarily achieve carbon neutrality; and
  • provides guidance on what is a genuine offset unit.

What are offset units’?

Offsets units are units which represent genuine reductions or abatement of greenhouse gas emissions.

Abatement is achieved by:

  • reducing or avoiding emissions, for example, through energy efficiency measures
  • removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in soil or trees, for example, by growing a forest.

Offset units are usually purchased by individuals or companies and used to cancel out or ‘offset’ the emissions they generate during their normal course of business.

How does the Standard work?

The Standard is designed to provide confidence in the environmental integrity of the carbon neutral claim for consumers and businesses alike. It helps businesses to determine their carbon account (also known as a carbon footprint) in line with consumer expectations, and ensures they back their carbon neutral claim through the cancellation of robust offset units. It also assists consumers to interpret carbon neutral claims and make informed choices.